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International Wrestling

U23 World Championship Women’s Freestyle Preview

miracle, kayla

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Monday the final World Championship event of the calendar year the U23 World Championships kicked off from Bucharest, Romania. On Wednesday, the women’s freestyle portion of the tournament will begin. The 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, and 76 kg weight classes will start.  Thursday, the medal rounds in these five weights will be conducted. The remaining five weights will start their tournaments on Thursday, as well.

Here are the members of Team USA for each weight class and notable wrestlers from around the globe, as well as predictions for each women’s freestyle weight class.

50 kg

Cody Pfau – This will be the fifth appearance on world team for Cody Pfau. She was on the U23 World Team last year and ended up in 15th place. In two of her trip trips to the Junior World Championships Cody wrestled for a bronze medal, but ultimately came up short. Pfau made the team this year by outlasting two-time Cadet world medalist Alleida Martinez in their best-of-three series at the U23 World Team Trials.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Turkhan Nasirov (Azerbaijan) – 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World Champion

Kseniya Stankevich (Belarus) – 2018 Senior World seventh-place, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Yuhong Zhong (China) – 2018 Asian Junior silver medalist

Lisa Ersel (Germany) – 2017 European Junior silver medalist, 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist

Miho Igarashi (Japan) – 2018 World University Champion, 2017 U23 World Champion, Two-time Junior World Champion, 2014 Cadet World Champion

Svetlana Ankicheva (Kazakhstan) – 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2013 Cadet World Champion

Namuuntsetseg Tsogt Ochir (Mongolia) – 2015 Asian Junior bronze medalist, 2011 Cadet World silver medalist

Stefania Priceptu (Romania) – 2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2015 Cadet World Champion

Nadeshda Sokolova (Russia) – 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist, 2012 Cadet World silver medalist, 2011 Cadet World Champion

Evin Demirhan (Turkey) – 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion

Oksana Livach (Ukraine) – 2018 Senior World bronze medalist, 2018 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2018 European U23 Champion, Three-time Junior World bronze medalist, 2013 Cadet World Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Miho Igarashi (Japan)

Silver: Oksana Livach (Ukraine)

Bronze: Evin Demirhan (Turkey)

Bronze: Turkhan Nasirov (Azerbaijan)

53 kg

Charlotte Fowler – Campbellsville All-American Charlotte Fowler, will be competing for the first time at the world level. She dominated her way to the U23 World Team Trials, before meeting Sierra Powell in a back and forth, best-of-three series. Powell took the first match by a pin, but Fowler came back and swept the final two matches.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Katsiaryna Pichkouskaya (Belarus) – 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 European U23 bronze medalist

Annika Wendle (Germany) – 2018 World University silver medalist, 2017 European Junior bronze medalist

Momoka Kadoya (Japan) – 2018 World University silver medalist, 2015 Junior World fifth-place

Andreea Beatrice Ana (Romania) – 2018 European Junior bronze medalist, Two-time Cadet World silver medalist

Milana Dadasheva (Russia) – 2018 Medved Champ, 2018 World Military bronze medalist, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, Two-time Junior World bronze medalist

Zeynep Yetgil (Turkey) – 2018 European Junior Champion, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, Two-time Cadet World bronze medalist

Khrystyna Bereza (Ukraine) – 2017 U23 World fifth-place, 2017 Junior World silver medalist, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist

Aktenge Keunimjaeva (Uzbekistan) – 2018 Junior World silver medalist, 2018 Asian Senior fifth-place, 2017 Asian Junior bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Zeynep Yetgil (Turkey)

Silver: Aktenge Keunimjaeva (Uzbekistan)

Bronze: Milana Dadasheva (Russia)

Bronze: Momoka Kadoya (Japan)

55 kg

Dominique Parrish – Another US entrant that has made back-to-back U23 World teams is Simon Fraser senior Dominique Parrish. Last time at this tournament, Parrish finished in ninth-place. Dominique earned her spot on the team by running through the U23 Trials, without surrendering a single point. At the NWCA All-Star Classic, Parrish put on one of the most dominating performances of the entire evening.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Elena Brugger (Germany) – 2018 World University Champion, 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist,

Ramona Galambos (Hungary) – 2018 World University Champion, 2013 European U23 bronze medalist, 2016 Senior World fifth-place, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World silver medalist, 2013 Cadet World Champion

Saki Igarashi (Japan) – 2018 Junior World Champion, 2018 Asian Senior Champion

Marina Sedneva (Kazakhstan) – 2018 Medved Champ, 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Bolor Erdene Bat Orshikh (Mongolia) – 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Marina Simonyan (Russia)

Shakhodat Djullibaeva (Uzbekistan) – 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Saki Igarashi (Japan)

Silver: Elena Brugger (Germany)

Bronze: Dominique Parrish (USA)

Bronze: Ramona Galambos (Hungary)

57 kg

Becka Leathers – Leathers is on the U23 world team a year after she won a bronze medal on the Senior level. This year she was unable to try for a second career Senior world medal after Jacarra Winchester took the spot with a win at Final X Lincoln. Becka went unscored upon during her quest to make the U23 team.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Alyona Kolesnik (Azerbaijan) – Two-time European Senior bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World fifth-place

Qi Zhang (China) – 2018 Senior World fifth-place, 2017 Junior World silver medalist, 2018 Ivan Yarygin Champion, 2017 U23 World silver medalist

Aike Hanai (Japan) – 2018 Asian Junior Champion, 2018 Klippan Lady silver medalist,

Tserenchimed Sukhee (Mongolia) – 2018 World Military bronze medalist, 2015 Senior World silver medalist, 2014 Senior World Champion, 2013 Junior World Champion

Alexandra Andreeva (Russia) – 2018 World University bronze medalist, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2018 Ivan Yarygin bronze medalist

Elif Yanik (Turkey) – 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Alina Akobiyan (Ukraine) – 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2018 European Junior bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Qi Zhang (China)

Silver: Alexandra Andreeva (Russia)

Bronze: Becka Leathers (USA)

Bronze: Tserenchimed Sukhee (Mongolia)

59 kg

Abby Nette – This will be the first world team for Emmanuel’s Abby Nette. Like Parrish, Nette also put on an impressive performance at the NWCA All-Star Classic. Abby won her spot on the team after winning the U23 WTT final, best-of-three series with Allison Petix two matches to none.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Nade Dragunova (Belarus) – 2017 European U23 bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World silver medalist

Laurence Beauregard (Canada) – 2018 World University Champion

Ningning Rong (China) – 2018 Senior World Champion, 2018 Asian Senior Champion, 2018 Ivan Yarygin Champion, 2017 Senior World fifth-place

Yuzuru Kumano (Japan) – 2018 Asian Junior Champion, 2017 U23 World Champion, Two-time Junior World Champion

Anastasia Nichita (Moldova) – 2018 Junior World Champion, 2018 European Junior Champion, 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 Junior World silver medalist

Grace Bullen (Norway) – 2018 Klippan Lady Champion, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Olena Kremzer (Ukraine) – 2018 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2016 Junior World bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World silver medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Ningning Rong (China)

Silver: Yuzuru Kumano (Japan)

Bronze: Anastasia Nichita (Moldova)

Bronze: Olena Kremzer (Ukraine)

62 kg

Kayla Miracle – After Leathers, the only other US wrestler on this team with world level hardware is Kayla Miracle. Kayla was a Cadet silver medalist and two-time Junior bronze medalist. A win at the US Open had put Miracle in the driver seat for her first berth on the Senior world team, but a loss to eventual world bronze medalist Mallory Velte at Final X State College delayed her Senior level chances.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Braxton Stone (Canada) – 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Luisa Niemesch (Germany) – 2018 Klippan Lady bronze, 2017 Senior World fifth-place, 2014 Junior World silver medalist

Aurora Campagna (Italy) – 2018 Junior World bronze medalist

Yukako Kawai (Japan) – 2018 Senior World silver medalist

Irina Kutznesova (Kazakhstan) – 2018 Asian Junior Champion, 2018 Junior World fifth-place

Gantuya Enkhbat (Mongolia) – 2018 Ivan Yarygin silver medalist, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist

Tatiana Smoliak (Russia) – 2018 European U23 silver medalist

Ilona Prokopevniuk (Ukraine) – 2018 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World silver medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Yukako Kawai (Japan)

Silver: Illona Prokopevniuk (Ukraine)

Bronze: Kayla Miracle (USA)

Bronze: Braxton Stone (Canada)

65 kg

Forrest Molinari – Miracle’s Hawkeye Wrestling Club teammate Forrest Molinari is back for her second go ‘round on the U23 World Team. She also was on the Senior world team and came up a match shy of a medal in Budapest. After watching her in Budapest, it feels like this tournament could be her big breakthrough.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Sofiya Georgieva (Bulgaria) –  2018 European U23 silver medalist

Luzie Manzke (Germany) –  2018 World University bronze medalist, 2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2018 European Senior fifth-place, 2017 U23 World fifth-place

Ayana Gempei (Japan) –  2018 Senior World bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2016 Junior World Champion

Danute Domikaityte (Lithuania) –  2018 Yasar Dogu silver medalist, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 World Military bronze medalist, 2014 Junior World bronze medalist

Mariia Kuznetsova (Russia) –  2018 Senior World 10th place, 2018 European U23 Champion, Two-time Junior World fifth-place, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Moa Nygren (Sweden) –  2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2015 Junior World silver medalist, 2012 Cadet World silver medalist

Irina Koliadenko (Ukraine) –  2018 Junior World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Ayana Gempei (Japan)

Silver: Danute Domikaityte (Lithuania)

Bronze: Forrest Molinari (USA)

Bronze: Mariia Kuznetsova (Russia)

68 kg

Alex Glaude – Moving up from a berth on the 2017 Junior team to the 2018 U23 World team is Alex Glaude. The McKendree junior cruised through the U23 World Team Trials without getting scored upon. Since Junior Worlds in 2017, Glaude has taken second at the Dave Schultz and third at the Bill Farrell.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Chuying Tang (China) – 2018 Senior World seventh-place, 2018 Medved Champion, 2018 Ivan Yarygin Champion

Yudari Sanchez Rodriguez (Cuba) – 2018 Pan American Senior Champion, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World silver medalist

Samar Hamza (Egypt) – 2018 Senior World fifth-place, 2016 Olympic 12th-place

Miwa Morikawa (Japan) – 2018 Junior World third-place, 2018 Klippan Lady silver medalist, 2016 Cadet World silver medalist

Khanum Velieva (Russia) – 2018 Junior World Champion, 2018 European Junior Champion, 2018 European U23 silver medalist, 2017 U23 World fifth-place, Two-time Cadet World Champion

Buse Tosun (Turkey) – 2018 Senior World bronze medalist, 2018 European U23 Champion, 2018 European Senior bronze medalist, 2016 Olympic seventh-place

Alla Belinskaya (Ukraine) – 2018 Yasar Dogu Champion, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist, 2017 World Military Champion, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

TOM Predictions

Gold: Buse Tosun (Turkey)

Silver: Khanum Velieva (Russia)

Bronze: Miwa Morikawa (Japan)

Bronze: Chuying Tang (China)

72 kg

Rachel Watters – The final returning member from the 2017 U23 team is Rachel Watters. Rachel was very close to earning a berth on the Senior World Team at Final X State College, before ultimately falling to veteran Erin Clodgo. Watters has as much world level experience as anyone on this team, as she also has competed in three Junior World Championships.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Xiaoqian Wang (China) – 2018 Asian Senior bronze medalist

Enrica Rinaldi (Italy) – 2018 European Junior silver medalist, 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Naruha Matsuyuki (Japan) – 2018 Junior World bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World silver medalist, 2017 Junior World fifth-place

Alexandra Anghel (Romania) – 2018 European Senior and U23 bronze medalist, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist

Evgenia Zakharchenko (Russia) – 2018 Junior World silver medalist, 2018 European Junior Champion, 2018 European U23 fifth-place

Beste Altug (Turkey)  2018 Yasar Dogu Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Naruha Matsuyuki (Japan)

Silver: Alexandra Anghel (Romania)

Bronze: Rachel Watters (USA)

Bronze: Xiaoqian Wang (China)

76 kg

Korinahe Bullock – The final member of the team is another McKendree Bearcat, Korinahe Bullock. Korinahe earned her place on the team by defeating college teammate Janelle Fuamatu in a pair of one-point matches, during their best-of-three series at the U23 World Team Trials.

Top International Wrestlers to Watch:

Gracelynn Doogan (Canada) – 2018 U23 World silver medalist, 2016 Junior World fifth-place

Paliha Paliah (China) – 2018 Senior World 11th place, 2017 Senior World fifth-place

Francy Raedelt (Germany) – 2018 World University Champion, 2018 European U23 fifth-place, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist

Pooja Pooja (India) – 2017 U23 World fifth-place

Yasuha Matsuyuki (Japan) – 2018 Junior World bronze medalist, 2017 U23 World Champion, 2017 Junior World silver medalist

Gulmaral Yerkebayeva (Kazakhstan) – 2018 World Military silver medalist, 2015 Junior World bronze medalist

Catalina Axente (Romania) – 2018 European U23 bronze medalist

Daria Shisterova (Russia) – 2016 Junior World silver medalist, 2014 Youth Olympic Games Champion

Anastasia Shustova (Ukraine) – 2018 European U23 Champion, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist, 2013 Cadet World Champion

TOM Predictions

Gold: Yasuha Matsuyuki (Japan)

Silver: Anastasia Shustova (Ukraine)

Bronze: Gracelynn Doogan (Canada)

Bronze: Daria Shisterova (Russia)

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